The Longest and Darkest of Recollections
The Longest and Darkest of Recollections considers how we occupy geologic spaces. The work has been developed as part of the MEAD Fellowship at the University of Arts London. It is influenced by the idea that we stand on the threshold of a new geologic era, the Anthropocene, in which humans are causing irreversible damage to the earth. Until now geology has been concerned with the past. We are at a unique moment in seeking to name the present and future through rocks.
A rock-face is evidence of deep time. The layered histories and formations reveal billions of years of earthy activity. The Longest and Darkest of Recollections takes up a long-standing interest the way that knowledge moves between bodies, objects, places and images. The verticality of the body finds echoes in the rock-face itself as well as the screen.
This work is based on extensive research into the practices of touch, measurement and observation in the natural sciences. Using photographic spaces and surfaces, I reimagine geologic gestures through material encounters between rocks, bodies and images. I re-enact and re-compose geologic moments, using the studio and digital spaces, to create new encounters between rocks and bodies. In these actions I am pulling the geology away from its scientific foundation, towards other, personal frameworks of knowledge.
The images speak of our contemporary condition: our curiosity about geologic history, our systems of classifying time and categorizing the earth. These photographs relate to us in two different orders of time – the photographic moment, a sixtieth of a second, is impossibly small in the context of billions of years of geologic time.
The Longest and Darkest of Recollections is influenced by the uses of ‘objects for scale’ in geologic photographic records. The work plays with ideas of scale and subjectivity, re-configuring spaces through which our understanding of time is produced.
Geology and photography share the literary metaphor of reading. Rocks are read in a similar way to photographs, offering a trace or interpretation of the past. In literature, rocks are both a metaphor for steadfastness and a site for exploring the human condition.
This work is accompanied by a text which further re-contextualises scientific knowledge by drawing the voice of geology into my own personal orbit. The text explores of time and memory by entangling forms of human, geologic and photographic memory and evidence.
Further information and research about the project can be found at www.longest-darkest.orgBack to gallery